The aim and purpose of this STSM was to look at Hamburg as a best practice example of subsurface data management, and examine how the data are used to support groundwater management. A secondary aim of the STSM was to make a primarily assessment of how applicable the practices in Hamburg are to other COST cities such as Glasgow – where there is little groundwater data, and where there is lack of formal data management of subsurface data between the public and private sectors, making access and re-use of groundwater data for managing the resource very difficult.

BSU Hamburg provides a benchmark example to COST cities as to how subsurface data should be managed to support decision making within cities by both the public and private sectors.

Key messages from this STSM are:

  • The accessibility of the Borehole and Groundwater datasets via the Data Portals within BSU means there is a high re-use of the data to support decision making, and assist environmental regulation.
  • The accessibility of the subsurface datasets to all BSU departments, and the close working relationships between different BSU departments, means that the data are used consistently by different departments, and coherent and agreed conceptual models of the subsurface are used to support decision making.
  • The strong inter-organisational working relationships developed by BSU with public and private sector organisations has taken many years, but it is instrumental to:  
    • Developing comprehensive and standardised Borehole and Groundwater datasets for the city, which have enabled a strong understanding and coherent management of the subsurface by different organisations in the city.

    • Environmental and urban redevelopment decisions are made from the same data and 3D models, across different organisations.

    • Fostering a virtuous cycle of data and knowledge exchange between BSU and other public and private sector organisations in the city.

Standardisation and rationalisation of existing subsurface data, and groundwater monitoring are required in nearly all COST cities to meet key current urban redevelopment and groundwater management demands. The lessons learnt from the STSM are, therefore, of benefit to all COSTparticipants, and not just BGS and BSU Hamburg.

The feasibility of transferring the subsurface data management practiced in Hamburg to other COST cities is in part dependent on the different legislative frameworks existing in COST cities, and the different remits of geological surveys and city partners.

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